Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Andrew

  1. And if this is what I can look forward to from Andsnes' full recording, I'm in!
  2. Thank you for this recommendation; I'm putting it on my wishlist. COVID + civil unrest = crappy sleep, so I didn't feel up to tackling an entirely new piece of music today. So instead I gave a listen to JS' Violin Concerto, which I probably haven't heard for a decade or more. (This was an apt moment to listen to it anyway, since he composed it between his 2nd and 3rd symphonies.) I'm glad you recommended a listen, Michael, because I'd forgotten how enjoyable it is. The first and second movements sound very Brahmsian to my ears (with a touch of Dvorak thrown in), which I suppose shouldn't be a surprise, since Brahms had only died 8 years before the final version of Sibelius' piece was first performed (conducted by Richard Strauss, no less). It has that warmth that I associate with Brahms, at any rate. In the first two movements, only the section when the full strings enter in the second movement, with the brass quickly coming behind, sounds distinctly Sibelian to me. But dang, that 3rd movement has such an exuberant uniqueness! Definitely a toe-tapping melody, with such interesting orchestration, pared down to 2 violins and violas, single double bass, and single kettledrum for most of it. One English conductor described it as a polonaise for a polar bear, and it has a lumbering yet joyous quality to it. Joshua Bell is a lot of fun to watch in the performance below, doused in sweat by the end of the first movement. He really puts his whole body into his performance (such that the camera has to pull away from closeup at around the 16 minute mark!). And it's endearing how he can't resist a little dance at the start of the third movement.
  3. Cool - well, please mark me down for Won't You Be My Neighbor.
  4. Just finished my Ikiru blurb. Of the films lacking an asterisk, I don't have a particular expertise around any of them, but I'm certainly game to write about Won't You Be My Neighbor? (And I'm pretty sure some of the lower films on the list without asterisks do have pre-existing blurbs, like Ushpizin and Silent Light. I could be wrong, though.)
  5. Very cool! I need to catch up with his 2016 film Morris from America, and keep an eye out for Little Fish (reportedly completed and seeking a distributor).
  6. I'll get around to rewatching Do the Right Thing before Spike Lee's latest drops on June 12th and in recognition of its prescience. But with all of the awfulness in my newsfeeds for so fucking long now, this Norwegian documentary was a welcome respite. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars in my review that I'll link below, which is perhaps a half-star too generous in hindsight. Still, this is an affecting portrayal of forgiveness and an engrossing study of two intriguing characters. And the director, Benjamin Rees, made some audacious narrative choices that deepen our understanding and empathy for both the painter and the thief, that take this beyond the realm of standard documentary storytelling. This might be a hangover from our Dardennes chat, but I felt a bit of a Dardennes vibe in the semi-opacity of the forgiver's motivations here. If anyone else has seen it, feel free to tell me if I'm nuts for perceiving that. And apropos to some of our music discussion of late, I really dug the organ-heavy score to this film. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/05/the-painter-and-the-thief-this-is-what-forgiveness-looks-like/
  7. Andrew


    After Nightwish and Peter Gabriel (if he does another tour), they're the band I'm most keen to see in concert. Given the videos of live performances I've watched on YouTube, I didn't imagine they'd be anything but fabulous onstage.
  8. Andrew

    Young Ahmed

    But the farm itself is a state-run therapy (in addition to being a working farm, I presume), and isn't it seminal for some of the chipping away of his resistance? Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, as someone who's worked in settings that receive government grants, but I think it's arguable that the kindness of the folks in juvie contributes to the chipping away as well. And even in the Dardennes aesthetic, the social worker, psychologist, and philosophy adviser came across as warm, not flat.
  9. Andrew


    A handful of their albums have generated threads over the years, but howzabout a thread just dedicated to the band itself? I think I discovered them only four or so years ago, but a number of their songs are now on frequent play at home or on the road: Mirrorball, With Love, The Birds (probably my favorite), Real Life (Angel), Magnificent. Guy Garvey's voice is the immediate draw; I think one AllMusic critic likened it to the feel of soft flannel, which seems apt. The music itself is welcoming, gentle, and humane, hardly easy listening but inviting like an old friend's porch on a cheery day. And the lyrics contain plenty of inventive twists and metaphors to keep me coming back (see, again, The Birds). During the shelter in place, they've been dropping lovely renditions of their songs onto YouTube 1-2 times weekly. (It's worth sticking around after the credits, for the occasional charming bonbon at the very end.) Here's one:
  10. I had some time this afternoon to track down a performance of Sibelius' 2nd Symphony and give it a listen. I'm not completely happy with my choice (the Sinfonica de Galicia seems to fall apart a bit in the transition between the 3rd and 4th movements), but overall, the sound quality is better than the Bernstein and Tortelier performances that popped up at the top of my YouTube search, and the climax-upon-climax of the final movement gave me the chills that a good performance of Sibelius' Second ought to. In reading the overview of this symphony in Edward Downes' Guide to Symphonic Music, evidently a couple of Sibelius' close friends confirmed that it has a program behind it: commencing with an idyllic notion of a free Finland, folding over to outside oppression, before concluding with the rise of a deliverer. I can certainly see this: the first movement, after a serene string intro, passes around a lovely melody from the oboe on to the clarinet, French horn, and flutes. But overall, this and the third movement have a harried feel to them. The second movement, which I really dig, also has an unsettled vibe to it, but it's more somber and dark-hued, especially at the beginning. I love how Sibelius gives 3 full minutes to pizzicato bass/cello and a bassoon melody, before the full strings get in on the action. This movement has a tender string melody, while the third movement has a lovely oboe-dominant interlude, but again, darkness and unease predominate until the Finale. The fourth movement never gets old for me. I count three climaxes, with softer breaks between them, before the closed cadence, brassy "Amen!" at the end (quite a contrast to the end of his First Symphony!). At the end of the first climax, there's a feeling that the wheels could fly off this symphony, with the surprising dissonance that starts with the flutes. Then there's a gorgeous Romantic lushness before a cinematic second climax (the swirling flutes give me a picture of wind blowing through the sails of a storm-tossed ship). The triumphal groundswell of the final climax feels well-earned after the tumult preceding it.
  11. P.S. I think my blurbs on Late Spring and Grave of the Fireflies from lists of yore have held up well, so I'm content keeping them as is.
  12. Oops...I definitely want to sign my blurbs by name and with a hyperlink to Secular Cinephile. Is there a way for to go in and edit, or do you need to do that?
  13. Sounds good to me - I just posted my Cave of Forgotten Dreams blurb, so I'll move on to Kurosawa next.
  14. Thanks - I'll try again later today or tomorrow, and if unsuccessful, I'll email you the info.
  15. I've gotten an error code EX1406 twice now when I've tried to save my Embrace of the Serpent blurb. Do you know what this signifies?
  16. I'd love to - this one'll take a bit longer, though, since I never wrote a review of it.
  17. Wow, thanks Ken. It helped that I had reviews of both I Am Not Your Negro and Embrace of the Serpent on my website, that only needed minor tweaking. And on that note, what next, boss?
  18. Just a parenthetical aside, but doesn't it seem like Bruce Beresford dropped off cinephile radar? In the 80s and 90s, he had a number of well-regarded, understated dramas: Black Robe, Tender Mercies, Breaker Morant. And I see from IMDb that he's still making films, but I don't think I've seen one since the early 90s.
  19. Ken, I'm a little confused on the blurb app: what goes in the "Description" box? I'm assuming the actual blurb goes in the larger "Info" box?
  20. I'll have my blurb for I Am Not Your Negro completed before the afternoon is out. What shall I write about after that, Ken?
  21. Andrew

    Young Ahmed

    Keeping it vague for now, I wasn't surprised; but in going back and watching it a second time, I found it quite moving, and just right, given
  22. I appreciate the consideration, Ken, but I'm 100% okay with sharing around the responsibility of blurb writing, to whomever is most passionate about a particular film. Judging by the asterisks on Ken's list that opened this thread, it looks like we definitely need blurbs for 40-odd films to the list. So am I right in thinking we could do with 2-3 blurbs from each voter? I'm also wondering if it would be optimal to have blurbs come from active A&F members, if possible. Anywho, here are the films I'd be game to blurb about, in descending order of preference. Again, I'd like to start with two or three, to share the wealth: - Ikiru (if we wanted to give it a new blurb, since Edward Allie no longer participates here) - I Am Not Your Negro - First Reformed - Embrace of the Serpent - Do the Right Thing P.S. I'm glad that Jeffrey is interested in doing a blurb for A Serious Man. For reasons I won't get into on a public forum, I'd like to see the one replaced that I formerly co-wrote.
  • Create New...